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Opt In To Subscribing

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May 9th, 2008
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WordPress Plugins

While reading Lorelle’s awesome post over at the blog herald entitled WordPress Wednesday I noticed a blip she mentioned about Mark Jaquith’s Subscribe To Comments plugin. Apparently, Mark has changed the way in which subscriptions are dealt with by default. In earlier versions, Subscribe To Comments would leave the Subscribe Box check marked by default, causing anyone who commented to automatically be subscribed to that blog post. This in turn created an opt-out way of thinking which has been and continues to be a bad practice.

Mark has changed this around and now leaves the subscribe box blank by default, leaving it up to the end users to decide on whether they would like to subscribe to the post or not. A much needed and welcomed change. Mark even set the plugin up so that even those who want to be subscribed to every post they comment on can do so via cookies:

I appear to have misread into Marks’ post as has been pointed out by both Mark and Lloyd Budd in the comments. What really changed with the plugin is the fact that the site admin now no longer has the configurable option of making the plugin opt-in or opt-out by default. According to Mark,

Before: option of opt-in or opt-out with default of opt-in for new installs. After: opt-in only, but with per-user checkbox stickiness. And yes, the change is old — I just have been getting a lot of e-mail about it and realized I never explained the change publicly.

I realize the change is old and the post I linked to was written in April, but because of the way I read into the post, I thought this was something that needed to be brought up due to the ethical nature of the changes that were made.

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Comments

  1. david (3 comments.) says:

    I think it’s been like that for at least a month. I didn’t even realize it was ever opt-out.

  2. Lloyd Budd (22 comments.) says:

    Jeff, you may want to pull or significantly revise this article. As Mark describes it, it isn’t about the default behavior. For a long time it defaulted to being opt in, and now it isn’t even an option to have it opt out.

  3. John Baker (15 comments.) says:

    Agreed. This is a much more honest and open way of dealing with people.

  4. Mark Jaquith (4 comments.) says:

    In earlier versions, Subscribe To Comments would leave the Subscribe Box check marked by default, causing anyone who commented to automatically be subscribed to that blog post.

    It would give the site admin the option of having the box checked by default. Now there isn’t even an option. Before: option of opt-in or opt-out with default of opt-in for new installs. After: opt-in only, but with per-user checkbox stickiness. And yes, the change is old — I just have been getting a lot of e-mail about it and realized I never explained the change publicly.

  5. Ken Litscher (2 comments.) says:

    Lloyd, I’m not sure what you’re saying. It seems like you, Jeff and Mark are all saying them thing. The checkbox used to be checked by default (opt out). Now, it’s unchecked by default (opt in).

  6. Jeff Chandler (295 comments.) says:

    Ok, I have revised the article and I hope it’s more in line with what really happened. I must of totally misread into your post Mark or at the very least, got the wrong idea/impression of what was going on. Let me know if the changes are satisfactory.

  7. Azmeen (14 comments.) says:

    Wow talk about the lack of research before writing. With all the deleted portion (which is more than 50% of the post), it might as well not be written at all.

  8. th13rteen (1 comments.) says:

    Hey what’s that plugin you are using to say “Thanks for visiting! If you’re new here…”? I want that. Its pretty cool. Please let me know.

    Thanks

  9. Jeff Chandler (295 comments.) says:

    @Azmeen Perhaps you are right, but I believe there may be others who have read Mark’s post and came to the same conclusion. Then again, I might be the only one, but leaving this post the way it is with an edited portion allows for people to get the correct interpretation of the post. I explained my reasoning behind the post in the first place and I think that’s enough.

    @th13rteen Look for a plugin called What Would Seth Godin Do and that should do what you want.

  10. th13rteen (2 comments.) says:

    Hey Jeff thanks for sharing the name of the plugin with me. I appreciate it. Btw, nice blog. Pretty helpful.

  11. Jacob Santos says:

    Actually, Azmeen, I was with Jeff, until Mark clarified the matter. I read the post and thought the same as Jeff. I just don’t care about Mark’s plugin to write about it, but err, not many people come to blog, so it might had been several months or years before the correction would had been able to be made.

    Glad I didn’t make a similar post.



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